Hidden Gems

Uncover the mysteries of ghostly Kayakoy with Turkey sailing

By Jenny Wilson
on  December 31, 2015

There are numerous attractions and sites of historical interest to discover when you enjoy a Turkey sailing trip, with the abandoned village of Kayakoy surely among the most interesting. This once-busy village now stands deserted, its buildings a ghostly reminder of this area’s tragic past.

Turkey travel tips - Seeing hidden sights
To really understand the significance of Kayakoy’s demise, it is important to appreciate just how unusual a place it formerly was. Historically Greece and Turkey have had many differences, which can still be seen in the partition of Cyprus today, but in this small village both lived races lived harmoniously side by side. The Turks called it Kayakoy and the Greeks Levissi, but it was a thriving community where cultural and religious differences were no barrier to friendship.

After the First World War and subsequent 1923 Greco-Turkish population exchange, however, returning Greek and Turks were separated and sent back to different regions, beginning the decline of this village. An earthquake in the 1950s sealed its fate and from then on Kayakoy became the deserted ghost town it is today. UNESCO designated it a world friendship and peace village and it is one of the region’s most popular sites for visitors.

The weathered houses that stand frozen in time make this not only a haunting destination but also a prime location for films such as Russell Crowe’s The Water Diviner. In recent years there have been moves among local residents to begin bringing life back to this deserted village, with local artisans and craftspeople utilising the buildings in the same way as their predecessors. This seems a fitting use of the space and adds to the unique atmosphere of this most mysterious of local attractions.

Sailing in Turkey - Uncover the country's hidden secrets

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